Research by Montana range scientist, Derek Bailey, has demonstrated that during the fall, cattle supplement placed at key spots on open ranges will help draw animals to graze high, rough terrain, improving overall pasture use. But, one stumbling block has limited widespread adoption of this logical tool: perceived cost of CRYSTALYX®.
Bailey’s latest work demonstrates that choosing a high quality low moisture block as that supplement source — even though the up-front cost may be up to triple the per-ton cost of traditional supplements like cubes or range cake — actually shows the innovative practice to be more affordable.
Bailey compared the grazing patterns and economics of cows given either 20% crude protein cake three times weekly or fed CRYSTALYX® BGF-30™ barrels continuously.The barrels were tended only every two weeks.
During the mid-October to mid-December, 2002, trial on the 160 nonlactating cross-bred cows:
- Cows spent more time near the CRYSTALYX® Supplements and used higher, rougher terrain than cows fed range cake.
- The body weight gain and condition score changes of the two groups were not statistically different.
- The frequent feeding schedule necessary to use cake—even when it wasn’t hauled to the roughest terrain, as the CRYSTALYX® Supplements were—ate up all its initial per-ton cost savings…and more. The CRYSTALYX® Supplements saved 25 percent in overall daily costs.